Painter Salvador Dali’s body to be exhumed for paternity suit

International News

A judge in Madrid has ordered the exhumation of the body of Spanish artist Salvador Dalí to get samples for a paternity suit.

A Spanish woman, born in 1956, said her mother, a maid, had a clandestine affair with the painter in 1955.

In ordering the exhumation, the judge said there were no biological remains or personal objects of the artist to be used in the paternity test.

The surrealist painter died in Spain 1989, at the age of 85.

He was buried in the theatre and museum he designed himself, in his home town of Figueres in the north-eastern Catalonia region.

Maria Pilar Abel Martínez, a tarot card reader who was born in Girona, made the claim for the first time in 2015.

She said her mother, Antonia, had worked for a family that spent time in Cadaqués, next to where the painter had a home.

The woman then left her job in 1955, moved to a different city and married another man.

Ms Martínez claimed that her mother told her several times that Dalí was her father, on many occasions in front of others.

“The only thing I’m missing is a moustache,” she once said, according to newspaper El Mundo (in Spanish).

At the time of the alleged affair, Dalí was married to his muse Gala, born Elena Ivanovna Diakonova. The couple had no children.

The decision also cites that Ms Martínez underwent two paternity tests, both in 2007, but never received the results.

Her legal action is against the Spanish state, to which Dalí left his estate. The court said the decision could be appealed.

If she is confirmed to be the artist’s daughter, she could use his surname and be entitled to part of his estate – but Spanish media say she would have to legally request it.

Ms Martínez’s lawyer said there was no date for the exhumation, but that it could happen as soon as July. The Gala Dalí Foundation has not commented.

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